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Kerlikowske, Gil

  • By: Matthew Robinson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Gil Kerlikowske is director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under President Barack Obama. Kerlikowske began serving in this capacity on May 7, 2009. The director of ONDCP is commonly referred to in the media as the “drug czar.” The term drug czar was reportedly first used by the United Press International in a 1982 news story announcing the establishment of this position by the U.S. Senate.

Kerlikowske brings 37 years of law enforcement and drug policy experience to ONDCP. Prior to taking the position of drug czar, Kerlikowske served nine years as the chief of police for Seattle, Washington. In that position, he opposed an effort to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority (but it was already a low priority ...

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